Why is Your Check Engine Light Flashing? The Best Explanation

Why is Your Check Engine Light Flashing

We will explain why your check engine light keeps flashing, the potential issues it indicates, and how to address the issues to avoid a significant engine breakdown.

When you drive your car around, something you don’t want to see is your check engine light flashing. This significant indicator on the car’s dashboard serves as a critical warning signal that something is not right with your vehicle’s engine or needs immediate attention.

What Does a Flashing Check Engine Light Indicate?

The flashing of your check engine light indicates an imminent critical issue with your car and that urgent attention is needed.
In contrast to a steady engine light which may only indicate a minor issue, a steadily flashing light means the opposite – a serious breakdown that can lead to serious damage to your engine.

The reason why you shouldn’t joke with your flashing check engine light is because of what it may indicate, including:

  1. Misfiring Engine: A check engine light flashing usually indicates a misfiring engine, which can be caused by several factors, such as a faulty ignition coil, spark plug, or fuel delivery system issue.
  2. Issues with the Catalytic Converter: If the catalytic converter is faulty, the check engine light may flash. This could threaten the proper functioning of your car’s emissions system, a crucial component of its performance. A poor emissions system may cause harmful emissions to be released into the environment, so addressing the check engine light issue may help prevent this.
  3. Issues with the Oxygen sensor: A problem with the oxygen sensor can interrupt the engine’s fuel-to-air ratio, affecting efficiency and emissions. This underscores the importance of scheduled maintenance service and repairs to prevent damage to the catalytic converter.
  1. Loose or faulty Gas Cap: It’s strange to see a malfunctioning gas gap triggering the check engine light to flash. But it does, even if it indicates a minor problem! Addressing the issue can help prevent fuel loss via evaporation, thereby maintaining your car’s fuel efficiency.

5. Malfunctioning EGR Valve: An Exhaust Gas Recirculation Valve issue can cause the check engine light to flash. If this is not addressed, it can disrupt engine performance and lead to an increase in emissions.

The Danger of Ignoring a Flashing Check Engine Light

Neglecting the flashing of your car’s check engine light can have serious consequences for your vehicle’s engine and finances. Here are the possible outcomes of ignoring a flashing check engine light.

  1. Engine Breakdown: First thing first! Ignoring your car’s check engine light can lead to significant damage to your engine, including a misfiring engine, malfunctioning fuel system, and more. Since a car’s engine is the most important component, you need to handle any flashing from your check engine light as such.
  2. Reduced fuel efficiency: Ignoring your car’s flashing check engine light can result in fuel inefficiency. An unusual functioning of the engine directly affects the rate of fuel consumption. By addressing the issue, the cost of fueling your car is kept at bay, and your vehicle can run smoothly without any hassle.
  3. Expensive repairs: The check engine’s flashing light may not indicate a serious concern, but less-concern issues may become serious issues demanding expensive repair if ignored. You can save more on repair by taking immediate action to have the problem traced and fixed.

Safety Issues: Your safety down the road cannot be guaranteed, as a flashing engine light can indicate an issue with your car’s stability, braking system, and performance. Ignoring the light means your life, the passengers’ lives, and the lives of other road users will be put at risk. Be a responsible driver by swiftly dealing with any flashing check engine light on your car.

Check Engine Light Starts Flashing on Your Car? Follow These Steps to Address it

It’s possible you’re driving down the road, and suddenly, the check engine light starts flashing. There is no reason for you to be afraid. Simply follow these steps to know the best way to handle a blinking check engine light:

  1. Pull Over: Since a blinking check engine light is a sign of a misfiring engine, you should pull over immediately to a comfortable location to prevent further damage, especially to the catalytic converter. If possible, stop driving the automobile.
  2. Put Engine Off: Next to pulling off is putting off the engine. Never attempt to start the car, as this can worsen the issue(s).
  3. Check Oil Level: A low oil level is one of the common reasons for an engine misfire. A car’s engine needs oil for lubrication purposes which helps to reduce friction and heat generated. If the oil level is low, top it immediately. Engine oil loss from a car can result from leaks.
  4. Check the coolant level: A low coolant level means your car system doesn’t have enough liquid to keep it running at optimum temperature. This can result in a misfiring engine, leading to increased fuel consumption and emissions. If the coolant level is low, add more to keep your engine running smoothly and prevent expensive repairs.

You should have a professional mechanic check for all these and related issues for proper fixing or repair.

Key Takeaways

To avoid serious engine damage, addressing issues relating to your vehicle’s check engine light flashing as quickly as possible is important. The parts or systems to address as a response to a flashing engine light usually depend on the cause of the issue and the car’s make and model.

When you’re unsure how to handle when the check engine light is blinking, you’re advised to call your mechanic or visit an auto repair shop.

Frequently Asked Questions

The main difference is that while a steady light flashing means a minor issue that can be taken care of later, a blinking light requires an immediate fix to prevent further damage to the engine.

A misfiring engine usually triggers the check engine light to flash. Various factors, such as bad spark plugs, fuel systems, and faulty spark plugs, have been found to cause engine misfiring.

A professional mechanic’s role is crucial in detecting and resolving issues related to the flashing check engine light. A qualified mechanic is expected to easily discover the source of the problem and efficiently carry out the necessary fixes and repairs to restore the vehicle’s optimal performance.

When your check engine light flashes, it signifies a very serious problem with the engine and emissions system. Your car shaking is an indication that your engine is misfiring, which can arise as a result of bad spark plugs, faulty wiring, or an ignition coil.

Picture of Adewale Peter

Adewale Peter

Peter, a versatile writer specializing in automotive content, has thrived as Classic Decodeer's brand journalist. With over 8 years of experience, he has excelled in creating engaging, reader-centric content, including book formatting and making slides. He is very passionate about researching and curating inspiring and informative blogs and articles. He enjoys meeting individuals who have what it takes to challenge him to continuously improve and give his best.

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